Month: January 2008

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them? – BTT

For the most part, I don’t find many characters really annoying. I had to check back on the books I read.

Jane  Eyre: Mr. Rochester I think counts. I find a lot of eccentric, well written characters amusing and he’s definitely that.

Wuthering Heights: I found both Cathy and Healthcliff incredibly annoying. Moreso Cathy who isn’t eccentric as so much as incredibly self-absorbed.

Watership Down:  General Woundwort is crazy, but incredibly well written villain.

Rebecca: Mrs. Danver is also crazy, and I found her incredibly creepy. Annoying, but necessary to the plot.

Time Quartet by Madeleine L’Engle: Sometimes I found Charles Wallace too precocious that it didn’t warm me to him.

Winnie the Pooh: Pooh is very quirky, and I love him for it.

Leo Tolstoy, Lewis Carroll, Thomas, Hardy, Louis de Bernieres, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kurt Vonnegut, Neil Gaiman and many authors I read all  write many eccentric characters in their works. I vary from loving them to just being amused or indifferent.

There are many more eccentric characters I could name, but I’m not bothered by them for the most part. Often, they weirdest characters serve a lot of the valuable purpose to the plot of the book if not their outrageous presence.

Published in 1818, Mary Shelley’s novel is styled with Romanticism (the descriptions and prose), Gothic (atmosphere and setting), and Horror (story and plot). At first I felt pity for the Frankenstein monster, but the story did give way to horror. I was not scared so much as fascinated by the way the death and violence unfolded. The set up of the novel is interesting too because there is a lot of characters telling each other stories: Victor Frankenstein telling his story to the narrator Walton, and the monster telling Frankenstein of his own story early on. The monster is really eloquent due to his readings of classic works. In the film versions, I think they dumb his rhetoric considerably. I think this is a testament to the time because everyone just spoke elegantly compared to now. The character of Victor is introduced as this broken but noble man, and as you read his story, the huge mistake in his life becomes him. He goes from being just a solitary, content young man to someone full of despair, self-pity, and misanthropy. The character is best seen at the beginning and at the end when he has accepted his mistakes and actions. There are few themes that can be read into this story. The references to Paradise Lost made me consider the idea of inheritance of the earth and who has more right? The monster says, “You are my creator, but I am your master; -obey!” Does Adam do unto the Earth because he is created to inhabit it? Does Lucifer have rights to rebel once he is created? Once we create, what are our responsibilities and what is that in which we’ve made? The novel did ask questions about the limits of man in science and technology. A quick and enjoyable classic.

Sunday Salon is a weekly event in which bloggers share their reading and comment on others doing the same. It’s a mini readathon and an excuse for bloggers to find time in the week to read together. January has been a miserly month for reading as I get back to the old routine. I’ll be very busy until April, and beyond that, uncertainty abounds in reading times. I hope Sunday Salon can remind me to blog and take some time to read for fun. I am not going to promise to do this every week, and doubtlessly, the amount read and blogged will probably vary. TSS will also allow me to muse on reading, allow me time to contemplate and note observations as I read, and do some bookish linking.

Today, I finished reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; the review will be up tomorrow. I started it nearly three weeks ago, and I read two thirds of it today. I much prefer to read books in a couple of sittings rather than spread over a long time in bits. I find I lose the train and sense of the book if I read it in too many sittings. It works sometimes as my life sort of becomes parallel or I start to slowly absorb the book (Of Human Bondage summer before last). Most of the time, I find I hard to get back into the book over such few readings as I like to be engrossed completely over a short period. It can’t be helped that I have books ongoing for weeks on end though, and especially since I am so busy.

I must announce that I am going to actually fail one of my reading challenges. The Seafaring Challenge ends January 31, and I have not touched either Horatio Hornblower books I said I would read. Partly because I only managed to get one of them. Ah well, this will teach me not to join any more challenges less than six months.

There is still some time this evening so I may pick up graphic novel later on in the night. My TBR piles are getting out of hand so I weeded a couple of books today. Not many because I do not like weeding.

Upcoming Books: I just subscribed to read The Last of the Mohicans on Daily Lit. Never used to service, and I am not a big fan of reading books off the computer, but I just had a last minute switch for my Decades challenge. The 1820’s does not seem to be a really enticing literary decade. I don’t have TLotM in book form, but I requested a copy so the DailyLit ones can hold me off til then.

Next weekend, I am going spend a lot of time reading books for school. Life and Times of Michael K is going to be read for an online book group in February so that’ll be picked in the near future. I also have all the graphic novels necessary to finish the Graphic Novel challenge so I’ll wrap it up next week or so.

Literary Links:

100 Books Every Child Should Read (Introduction) – Features a lot books I liked as a child.

Pirate Coelho  – Paul Coelho (The Alchemist) is pirating his own books because he is convinced that free copies of the book increases book sales.

Books that make you dumb – Someone used Facebook and SAT scores to determine people’s favourite books. Are there people in Facebook that actually list “I Don’t Read”? Given, I don’t even add my favourite books when I’m on it. In any case, I have no idea what my SAT scores are any way, but the results are amusing none the less.

I got this meme from Chris.

What kind of soap is in your shower right now? LUSH Fig N Leaves. Very moisturizing.

Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? Not in this cold season.

What would you change about your living room? I’m going to agree with Chris that it needs more bookshelves, and a Persian rug.

Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? We don’t have a dishwasher.

What is in your fridge? Food.

White or wheat bread? Whole Wheat.

What is on top of your refrigerator? Cereal boxes. I don’t even eat it.

What color or design is on your shower curtain? It’s white with multi-coloured bubbles. It’s from Ikea.

How many plants are in your home? At least two.

Is your bed made right now? No.

Comet or Soft Scrub? Comet because I also don’t know what Soft Scrub is.

Is your closet organized? Relatively so.

Can you describe your flashlight? It’s cheap and red.

Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home? I usually drink out of a white mug.

Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? No.

If you have a garage, is it cluttered? No garage.

Curtains or blinds? Both.

How many pillows do you sleep with? One.

Do you sleep with any lights on at night? No. I like sleeping when it’s pitch dark.

How often do you vacuum? Not very often.

Standard toothbrush or electric? Standard. I wish I had electric.

What color is your toothbrush? Clear and pink. It’s the one the dentist gave me.

Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch? A mat, but it doesn’t say anything.

What is in your oven right now? Nothing.

Is there anything under your bed? Nothing.

Chore you hate doing the most? Vacuuming.

What retro items are in your home? Well. I guess maybe a piece of stereo equipment or two.

Do you have a separate room that you use as an office? No, but I would if I had my own house.

How many mirrors are in your home? About 5-7.

What color are your walls? White with beige trimmings. I didn’t choose it.

What does your home smell like right now? Nothing.

Favorite candle scent? Don’t burn many candles here.

What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now? None at the moment.

What color is your favorite Bible? I don’t have a bible; I wish I did. I think it would be nice in brown.

Ever been on your roof? No.

Do you own a stereo? Yes.

How many TVs do you have? 2.

How many house phones? 3. Though 2 of them don’t always work.

Do you have a housekeeper? No, we wish.

What style do you decorate in? Our home style.

Do you like solid colors or prints in furniture? Solid.

Is there a smoke detector in your home? Yes, it’s illegal not to have an active one in every floor. We have two I think.

In case of fire, what are the items in your house which you’d grab if you only could make one quick trip? My laptop, journals, and photo albums.

Chevron Socks - Forethought Heel

Chevron Socks, started December 15th 2007, finished January 22nd, 2008.
Pattern: Chevron from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch.
Yarn: Wisdom Yarns Marathon Socks – San Diego (75% Wool 25% Nylon 100g 400m/437yds)
Needles: Hiya Hiya stainless steel 40″/100cm US1/2.25mm circs
Modifications German Twisted cast on, and Magic Loop.
Lessons Learned: German Twisted Cast On, Forethought heel.
Cost of Project: $4 for the yarn!
Would I knit it again? Unlikely.

Chevron Socks

Pattern Notes and Comments: This yarn was in clearance for only $4! I still have a lot left because I got very bored doing the first leg. It’s a rather short cuff as a result. I’m not crazy for the yarn colours which is why I wanted to use something like chevron to make it interesting. I hate provisional cast on. The forethought heel was not difficult, but it wasn’t fun either. The pattern is not a stretchy one which will be good to wear in these cold winter days as it really hugs my foot. It is rather mindless knitting for awhile which can be both good and boring. I love my Hiya Hiya needles though. Also, I love this book. It has so many wonderful sock patterns. I’m probably going to knit a pair of socks in February as well.

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?” – BTT

I am really quite predictable since I love classics and books most people have heard of.  I think The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa is simply wonderful but not totally unknown. A lot of people I know don’t really get into graphic novels so they aren’t aware of Neil Gaiman’s work or Sandman. Speaking of graphic novels, this one counts, but I forget to add it to my GN challenge recs: Griffin and Sabine Trilogy by Nick Bantock. In nonfiction, I love a lot of memoirs and travel books such as Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik and Blue Latitudes: Boldy Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz.

In a lot of cases, while some well read people on the blogsophere or bibliophiles have heard of books, I have a lot of friends who are not big readers and will go “Huh?” when I say I like Jose Saramago,  Milan Kundera, Neil Gaiman, etc.

A list of 2008 (and beyond) movies that I would be interested in seeing. This is not the definitive list by any means. I am only including movies that have not yet premiered.

James Bond 22 – Come on, I love Daniel Craig. I have seen almost ever Bond movie. Matter of time really.

Mamma Mia – I saw the trailer for this during Sweeney Todd. Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep? I am there!

Brothers – I really liked the original Danish movie, and apparently so did Hollywood. Maguire, Gyllenhaal, and Portman are going to star. Doubtlessly interesting.

The Dark Knight – I have been a Batman girl since watching TAS growing up. Nolan and Bale did a wonderful job in Batman Begins so this should be a fun ride too. I also adore Gary Oldman and Michael Caine.

Star Trek – The casting on this is awesome.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Alan Rickman.

My Blueberry Nights – It’s a Wong Kar Wai film, so I’m there. Not too crazy about the cast even though I like Rachel Weisz. Jude Law does nothing for me, and this is Norah Jones’s first time.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – I liked TLTWTW, but that was my favourite Narnia book. This franchise has a lot of energy left in it.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull – Cate Blantchett is the villain.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – This sounds very interesting, and I hope to read the Fitzgerald short story. Brad Pitt is in it opposite Cate Blantchett.

Australia – My desire to see this film is due to my loyalty to Baz Luhramann.

RocknRolla – Guy Ritchie back to gangster movies. Gerald Butler is in the lead.

Iron Man – Initially, I unsure because I know nothing about Iron Man. Still, I have always liked Robert Downey Jr. as an actor, and Terence Howard is in it too. Very good trailer.

Wall-E – This sounds like a fascinating animated movie.

Blindness – Adaptation of the Jose Saramago book which is a masterful work. Julianne Moore has a lot to do as the lead, but if everything works, this could be excellent.

The Forbidden Kingdom – Director has done mostly Disney and premise iffy (American kid obsessed with kung fu time travels), but the extended trailer looks amazing. Shot in China, and starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

Wanted – James McAvoy, call me, but use your natural accent. Jolie does look hot in this too.

Jumper – When I saw this in the theatre, I was skeptical. The extended, longer trailer is a bit more compelling. I hope this becomes the post-SW success for Christensen.


Tudora, started December 30th 2007, finished January 17th 2008.
Pattern: Tudora by Cheryl Marling from Knitty, Winter 2007.
Yarn: Cascade 220 (100% Highland Peruvian Wool – 100g/220yds) – Cranberry – less than one skein
Needles: US6/4.0mm 16″ circs
Modifications: One row button hole
Tools: Cable needle, button
Lessons Learned: One row button hole
Cost: $2 button + $8 yarn (not really since it was less than one skein and I’m going make another hat out of the leftovers).
Would I knit it again? Yes.


Pattern Notes and Comments: Love this yarn, and the historical theme of this piece. I want a toggle button, but the store I went to had an iffy selection of those so I went with this nice silver button. This is a very quick knit; it took me awhile because I ran out of yarn. Guess now I’ll have to make another hat. I also put off buying the button for weeks. A cable needle was used most of the time, and sometimes, I did it without. With large cables, I’m not as good than without a cn. I can not wait to wear this when it gets a bit warmer. It’s more of an autumn/spring piece since this would be too flimsy for Canadian winters. It’s -14ºC today without wind today. It’ll smashing in the Fall though.

This week’s question is suggested by Puss Reboots:

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try? – BTT

In general, I prefer not to read reviews of things such as movies or books. When I was impressionable, I found them affecting the way I watched the film. Usually the bad reviews. I’m the type of person that wants to see the good in these things, and if I can’t, I rather be the one who sees the bad. It’s impossible to not read reviews though or catch news of books. I read book blogs, but I find those reviews connected and closer than newspaper book reviews. If I do see a bad review of a book I want to read, for the most part, I’ll still read it. I usually read book from authors I like, and my relationship with them is fairly stable and committed.  As for good reviews, I do tend to note the books because they are a good way to find other books.

  1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
  2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance? – BTT

I like many authors. Often, the ones who have past are found through my readings of classic books. Sometimes, I saw the movie version of a book and picked it up. Alot of books were recommended or discussed with others. I know a friend who shares my interest in Nick Hornby, another who loves E. M. Forster as much as I do.

As with most things, it was love at first sight mostly. I tend to know what I like and feel my way first. Some authors grow on me to be sure though.

Noro Silk Garden #233

Some yarn I got in the last days of 2007. I don’t take a lot of pictures of yarn, but I can’t resist showing off my Noro Silk Garden. This is my first Noro purchase. It’s Silk Garden (55% silk 45% kid mohair 10% wool) in shade #233 which is discontinued. I practically stole it for 2 skeins of $12. I’ve seen the colours of this shade on Ravelry projects, and I can see why they would discontinue it. Still, I’m excited about using this company’s yarn. When I found the first skein, it felt very scratchy and twiggy. I hear it lengthens and softens up after a wash of the knitted product. I bought Eucalan the other day so I’ll use that for the Silk Garden scarf I intend to make. It’ll have to be a skinny scarf since I don’t have much yarn. Though the scarf won’t need to be that warm as it seems to be intended for a warmer season accessory. Am inclined to a drop stitch scarf pattern at present.

Gedifra Volata Tweed

I have four 50g 100m balls of this German produced wool. It’s actually a new 100% wool by Gedifra which I bought 4 for $16. I took a picture because Ravelry didn’t have any photos of it. The colours and the tweed does look rather fetching. 400m would make a very warm winter scarf with fringe too. I am inclined possibly to make “My So Called Scarf”, “Scrunchable Scaf”, “One Row Handspun” etc. Lots of options for the coming seasons.

I am very tempted to also buy a skein of Malabrigo for the first time as early birthday gift to myself. Probably make tiny scarf out of it too. I seem to have moved from hat patterns back to scarf ones quickly enough.

Dewey has been blogging about the knitting books she’s been perusing and using. I’ve looked through a lot of knitting books for instructions and patterns. Since most of the knitting books are straight forward pattern books so I don’t necessarily count them as books consumed as would others. I have barely knit anything from them, but I save a plethora of patterns. I intend to knit thing from the following books in any case. This is just a simple list of knitting books that have helped me in the past or more likely, books that have really nice patterns. Links to Ravelry (or Amazon).

Stitch and Bitch: A Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller – The first knitting book that I ever bought. Not too crazy about the patterns, and I’ve found other resources for techniques. Still a really good resource that I often go back to remind me of techniques.

The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe – A technique book that is a treasure. On my wishlist since it has directions, advice, and tips for so many knitting related topics.

Interweave Knits magazine – I’ve browsed Vogue Knitting too, but this is probably the best all around knitting magazine on the market. It consistently has magazines that are wearable, well designed, of different gauges, yarns, styles, etc. It’s multi-faceted and well edited. It seems to have actually gotten better since 2005/6 since I want to knit even more tings in the recent issues.

Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Haverson – This is just a pretty book with simple, quick, and nice patterns. I find myself constantly taking it out of the library. One day I’ll knit the Hourglass Sweater, Chevron Scarf, and that Child’s Placket Neck Pullover.

Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Garinder and Ann Shayne – Patterns for useful things! I love the washcloths and really want to make some towels and blankets one day off this book. Not to mention the baby knits.

Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch – I am knitting a pair of socks from SSK now. Really clear instructions with socks that be customized hundreds of ways. Some of best sock knitting books I’ve encountered.

Favorite Socks ed. Interweave Press – Really nice sock patterns from IK. Embossed Leaves and Ribbed Stockings are the top of my list.

Folk Socks by Nancy Bush – The Scottish Kilt stockings call me often among other lovely sock patterns in this book.

Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski – A variety of well designed mitten patterns from around the world. I’m taken with a lot of these patterns.

Scarf Style ed. Interweave Press – One day, I’ll knit that entrelac stole.

Hats On by Charlene Schurch – Schurch’s designs are well written. I love knitting hats and there are lots of traditional hat patterns in this one.

Anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann – I’ve looked through most of the books, but I don’t own any of them yet. There are a lot of fun patterns, but EZ patterns are more like schematics. Still lots of useful tips.

Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel – I am going to knit the vest from this soon. I love form fitted sweaters and tops. The patterns are easy to understand for the most part.

Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan – A designer with a distinctive style, there are some really nice patterns in this. I like the hats in this.

Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel – As a HP fan, how could one not like some of these patterns? I want to make a Weasley Sweater, though I don’t think it’s exactly my style. The House Sweater, socks, and various other accessories are really nice too.

One Skein by Leigh Radford – Who doesn’t like a good stashbuster book?

One Skein Wonders – Some of the patterns are only so-so, and it really isn’t one skein for some of them. Still, 101 patterns for small projects.

Simply Baby by Debbie Bliss – I have no idea why, but I have a penchant for baby knits even though I have no intention of having children in the near future or know anyone who is expecting. DB’s baby patterns are probably her best though. I even want to knit the teddy bear from this book.

Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick – Really good gift ideas and a couple of very nice quick knits. I don’t like knitting bags, but that counterpane bag is in my queue.

Socks Socks Socks – Patterns are not as good as the above sock books, but the techniques section has some good info for beginners.

Rowan Scottish Knits/Scottish Knits by Sarah Dallas et al. – I love Rowan yarns. Sarah Dallas patterns are sometimes really nice too. Wish I had more resources to those patterns.

Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery – I am consuming this now. So many nice garments. Like many, I am enamored with the Military Cardigan.

Will post more when I have consumed more pattern books as I do often.